tv CBS Weekend News CBS June 12, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
at 6:30. >> news updates always on cbssf.com along with maria medina, i'm brian hackney. >> this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> good evening from orlando, florida this is our western edition. orlando became today the scene of the worst mass shooting in american history. it happened at a gay night club about a half a block behind me, a club called pulse. 50 people were killed. we are told that tonight, many of the bodies have been moved to the coroner's office, the player says the work of removing the 50 bodies should be completed this evening. the only sound at the crime scene now is the ringing of cell phones. desperate relatives calling to find out if their loved ones are still alive. as we said at least 50 people
were killed, but more than 50 others were wounded. many of them in critical condition. in what president obama has called an act of terrorism, and hate. just after 2:00 this morning it was last call for drinks at the pulse nightly club, popular among gay community when signs of gun fire rang out above the music. a lone gunman, 29-year-old omar mateen, made his way into the club. >> oh my god dude. >> a massive barrage of gun fire was exchanged with law enforcement and pierced the quiet of downtown orlando. today president obama says the entire country stands with the people of florida. >> today as americans we grieve the brutal murder the horrific massacre of dozens of innocent
people. we pray for their families whoir who are grasping for answers with open hearts. >> armed with an ar 15 semi automatic rifle, and a handgun, mateen was armed with what could have been a explosive device. turned into a tense hostage situation. this mother came looking for her son. >> i don't know where my son is. no one can tell me where my son is and he's been shot, or if he is dead, no one knows but they told me there are fatalities. >> minutes later the club posted this message on facebook with a dire warning: everyone get out of pulse and keep running. witnesses say people ran out between bursts of gun fire or dove for cover. this text message was written by a man hidden in a bathroom who
believed he only had moments to live. mateen called 911 to pledge his allegiance to i.s.i.s. >> there were 9/11 calls in which there was conversation between the subject and law enforcement representatives of 911 that has become federal evidence. >> pelley: orlando police used stun grenades and armoured vehicle to enter the building. three hours after the mayhem became a swat team engaged in a sustained gun fight. by 5:53 a.m. orlando police said the shooter was dead along with 50 others. 53 were taken to local hospitals. many of them in critical condition. the injured were carried out and transported by any means available. one officer was slightly wounded after he was hit in the helmet with a bullet. his kevlar helmet saved his life. f.b.i. and law enforcement remain at the scene, scouring
for evidence. the gunman was born in new york and lived about a hundred miles southeast of here in fort pierce, florida. he worked as a security guard and he had drawn the interest of the f.b.i. more than once before. our national security correspondent jeff pegues has more on the suspect. >> reporter: law enforcement sources say the gunman, omar mateen, called 911 during the mass shooting. in the call to a dispatcher he stated his name and pledged his allegiance to isis. while he was not under investigation at the time, offic.i.a.ls say mateen had been on law enforcement's radar at least twice in recent years. mateen was a u.s. citizen born in new york to afghan parents. he was living in fort pierce, florida, and has been married.
in 2012 mateen attended the haj, which is an annual pilgrimage to mecca in saudi arabia. a year later in 2013 the 29- year-old turned up on the f.b.i.'s radar for the first time. coworkers said he had made inflammatory remarks about terrorist ties. the f.b.i.'s rod hopper is leading the investigation. >> the f.b.i. thoroughly investigated the matter including interviews of witnesses, physical surveillance and records checks. ultimately we were unable to verify the substance of his comments and investigation was closed. >> reporter: in 2014 he came to the f.b.i.'s attention again, this time because of ties to the first known american suicide bomber in syria. that man blew himself newspaper 2014. after that investigation, mateen was cleared again. >> we determined that contact was minimal. and did not constitute a substantive relationship or a threat at that time. >> reporter: mateen had been working as a security guard and with no record within the last week, he was able to purchase a
handgun and the ar-15 assault rifle police believe he used to kill and injure more than a hundred people. the attack appeared well planned. mateen chose a soft target with few exits for his potential victims to escape. he exchanged gunfire with at least 14 police officers before he was shot to death. scott, in that 911 call mateen made a reference to the tsarnaev brothers who carried out the boston marathon bombing. the f.b.i. has now taken those 911 tapes and has begun to dig deeply into mateen's life and friendships. sources tell us that he was not on any terror watch list. and so far there is no evidence that his actions were directed by isis but the 911 call suggests that he was at least inspired to act by the group. earlier i spoke with former c.i.a. deputy director mike morell. how important is this 911 call? >> it says to me that this is absolutely an individual who was
inspired by isis. >> reporter: why? >> because he said it, right. he said "i pledged allegiance to isis," right? that is the act of becoming a member of isis, says to me he was radicalized. he was radicalized by them. says to me this is an act of terror. says to me this is the largest act of terror in the united states since 9/11. >> reporter: is it important for law enforcement to determine whether this was inspired or directed? >> absolutely. >> reporter: and why? >> significant difference between the two. strategically and tactically. so strategically, the demonstrated ability of isis to reach inside the united states and direct somebody to conduct an attack is huge for their stature, huge for their followers. a very important message for them. tactically, their ability to reach inside the united states and direct one person to attack, means they can do two, or three. we've been talking, you and i in the last year, about something like this happening. and the almost certainty that it
was going to happen. it's going to happen again, right? orlando is not the last one. so more of it is going to happen. and there will be a debate, right. there will be a political debate about how much of our privacy and civil liberties do we give up to enhance our security. >> reporter: investigators also arrested a man in california who was armed with an assault rifle. they believe he was on his way to the gay pride parade in los angeles. scott, at this time there is no apparent link between that suspect and the attack in orlando. >> pelley: homeland security correspondent jeff pegues in the washington newsroom tonight, jeff, thank you very much. we are just beginning to learn the names of a few of the victims. we just have a few names out of the 50 who are known to have died. they include eric ivan ortiz- rivera. peter gonzalez-cruz.
edward stanley diszor, jr. luis omar capo, and juan ramon gu ilmo. a short time ago i had a chance to speak with one of the eye witnesses. let's hear what he had to say. sean, you were at the club this morning. what did you see? >> happy faces. everybody was having a good time, actually. and then next thing you know, it was like mayhem. i was in the back part by-- sorry, it's really hard to be here. i was in the back patio part outside, walking back with my best friend and another friend and they were walking in front of me, someone stopped to say hello. i hadn't seen them in awhile. i stopped. they kept walking. next thing you know i hear bang, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. and people were scattering, running around. i didn't know what to do. i'm looking for my friend. i kind of curled up in a corner for a second. then i jumped over the back
wall, that everyone was trying to get out. i jumped over and kept running. as much as i kept hearing the gun shots i kept running because i didn't know which way they were coming from. they sounded close, they sounded far, they sounded close, they sounded far. it stopped for about two seconds and then-- yeah. i ended up going underneath someone's truck until it got done. until some kind of calm. because it was mayhem. >> pelley: you got under somebody's truck. >> across the street. i went across the street to the wendy's, there are houses and i went behind there and just, i tried to knock on someone's door, to get 911 called. they called but no one was answering so it seemed like the shots kept on getting closer. >> pelley: how long did you hear gunfire, would you say? >> honestly my mind was so gone by that point, probably a good minute, a good two minutes. like inside and out, running away, a good two, three minutes. it just seemed like it wasn't
done. it stopped for a few seconds like he was reloading or whatever, i'm not sure. >> pelley: so it stopped for a couple of seconds and started all over again. >> yeah. >> pelley: what were you seeing and hearing at that moment? >> screaming, yelling. people that were wounded, just to get them out of the way. sorry, sorry. i have never been so scared in my entire life. >> pelley: we've seen pictures of people just picking up those who were wounded and running them down the street to the
hospital which is a couple of blocks away. >> i saw some people doing that. they had the fire department, ambulances and people were doing it themselves. people when they came out, they scattered. i went straight across. some people went to the right or left, some people went that way and came back this way. my best friend, we got separated. he was inside. he was one of the people, he got shot and apparently he got taken out. someone dragged him out and got him to a ambulance. that is when i got in touch with him. he's at the hospital. another friend of mine was inside as well. we're looking for him, no one has heard from him since last night, his family has been calling, friends calling. we haven't gotten in touch with them. everyone is really, really worried right now. >> pelley: your friend who was taken to the hospital, how is he? >> he was in surgery last time that i checked. as far as i know he's done pretty well but he was hit pretty bad. i know two times in the back. and he got trampled over so he
also broke his leg. and that's just one person. there were people outside, i couldn't even imagine to see what is on the inside, to be honest. i just know that it's bad. but people were coming out. the ones close to me, were coming out. -- i feel bad. there were so many people. away at the same time, i feel bad. because there's so many people, there are so like it was really bad. so many people! people. >> pelley: as the police arrived you were stinld the >> pelley: as the police arrived you were still under the truck. what did you see? >> i got out from the truck, because they were coming out. they were trying to get us in the same area behind the wendy's and 7-11. they had us surrounded. they had us leaning up against the wall, for any stray gun fire, and then we weren't so --
we really didn't know what to think. we had no idea if it was more than one person, if there were people running around, srntion the gunshot the way the gun shots sounded it sounded like they were coming everywhere. one time it sound like over here, closer, farther away. i was literally on my phone, i was crying and trying to call my friend and nobody seemed to be getting through to anybody. it was the most nerve-racking. >> pelley: did the gunman say anything that you could hear? >> i wasn't inside. i was outside on the patio. so i never heard the gunman or heard him. i just heard gun shots it went from having a fun time, music playing to three, four gun shots, music stopping and all you heard was gun shots, screaming and tables knocking over and people jumping, people screaming inside, trying to get outside, more gun shots. i'm sorry. >> pelley: did it seem like it was ever going to end? >> no, it didn't seem real actually.
i can't say it would never happen to anybody. i mean it has but it is very sad, i don't know. it shouldn't be that type of hate. >> pelley: sean, thank you so much. i appreciate you, that was difficult but people need to know what happened and i'm so grateful. we can't tell the story unless you tell i.t. for us. >> thank you very >> thank you very much. >> pelley: eye witness and survivor sean royster has been estimated today that as many as 200 people managed to escape the club uninjured. coming up next on this spec.i.a.l edition of the "cbs evening news," from more orlando, florida, why lone wolf attacks seem to be so difficult to stop. stop.
>> pelley: the terror attack here in orlando, florida, is proof once again that a man with a gun and a heart filled with hate is almost impossible to stop, kris van cleave has more. >> reporter: as omar mateen mowed down patrons of the pulse nightclub, orlando joined a growing list of american cities shattered by violence of a lone wolf style attack, inspired by hate, be it against a group of people or inspired by a group like isis. orlando police chief john mina. >> our officers put themselves in harms way and risk their lives for the people and patrons at pulse. >> reporter: lone wolf attacks have happened again and again. last year a husband and wife killed 14 at an office party and five service members were targeted by a single shooter in chattanooga, tennessee; another killed 14 at fort hood. all claimed to be inspired by
islamic terror groups. a 2015 study looked at 63 attacks over a six-year period and found 90% of the cases where the perpetrator was known, was the work of one or two people. the overwhelming majority were men and nearly 60% involved fire arms. >> this could happen anywhere in our world. certainly anywhere in america. there are weapons available. this is exactly the thing that isis calls us to. it is a siren song. they want this sort of victory, that they can claim for themselves. and the more carnage, the better.>> reporter: ron hosskoaa former assistant director of the f.b.i. he says since 9/11 there's been a huge focus on disrupting terror plots but the lone wolf is a lot harder to spot. >> one person who is sitting in front of their computer out in middle america thinking and looking and we're waiting for their fuse to be lit, how do you get to that person?
how do you predict that person? how do you defeat that person? >> reporter: complicating the effort to find these people, scott, hossko says every time there is one of these tragedies it becomes a blue print to a would-be attacker. >> pelley: kris van cleave reporting, thank you, kris. and in a moment, senator marco rubio of florida will stop by here to tell us more about what they've learned. tell us more about what they've tell us more about what they've learned.
>> pelley: back now from orlando, florida. a short while ago we had an opportunity to talk to florida senator marco rubio after he had visited the crime scene. >> senator, you've been over to the crime scene. i wonder what you saw there. >> it was horrifying. obviously i didn't go in, it's a crime scene. investigators were coming outside, there were people there and relatives still calling their loved ones. it is just a terrible scene. >> pelley: when you go over there you hear telephone rings, people trying to call. >> law enforcement, there are families calling their loved ones, they haven't heard from them, they are hoping someone will answer.
on the human scale, you think about the people that survived this and the ones still in the hospital and the ones that didn't that will need a lot of counseling and help with what they saw. this sounds like a combat zone. >> pelley: what you have been told about the suspect? >> the federal authorities so far said pretty much what i know, that this is an individual born in new york, raised in the u.s., u.s. citizen. >> pelley: the f.b.i. was alerted to him in 2013 and 2014. he made some statements to people that seemed sympathetic to radical islam. the question will be asked, why didn't the f.b.i. do anything then. but give me the perspective on that. >> we'll look into it. the intelligence committee will conduct oversight into the process that went into all of this. but making statements alone is not enough to arrest anybody. this has all the markings of what is called a lone wolf, a home grown violent extremist taking action after being inspired to do. so that is a growing threat in this country we have known about
>> pelley: back now from orlando, florida. families here are going through an agonizing wait, only a very few of the 50 people known to have been killed have been identified so far. more than 50 others are in the hospital, and many of them are in critical condition after surgery. omar mateen, the gunman who opened fire in pulse, a gay nightclub, was american, born to afghan parents. he was killed in the shootout with police. he called 911 during the attack and pledged his loyalty to isis. though it is not at all clear at this point whether he had any direct contact with the group. for some of you, we will be leaving, but for other cbs stations, we will continue with this special edition of the "cbs evening news" from orlando. i'm scott pelley.
>> pelley: massacre in orlando. >> oh my god, people are getting shot. >> this was an act of terror, and an act of hate. >> pelley: a gunman opens fire in a gay nightclub. >> there were bodies, people that were wounded. just to get them out of the way. >> pelley: at least 50 are killed in the deadliest mass shooting in u.s. history. many more are wounded. >> i don't know where my son is. no one can tell me where my son is. if he's been shot, if he's dead no one knows. >> pelley: isis claims responsibility. >> the individual has been identified as omar mateen.